When we first walked through what is now our home, I was completely unimpressed with the colors, the decor, the outdated kitchen and bathrooms, the worn out floor in the kitchen/great room, and the painted over antique hardware. However, I'm one of those people who easily sees potential and I have no problem looking past the cosmetic fixes. I saw the 200 year old wainscoting, wood planked walls, exposed beams, gunstock corners, and wide plank pine floors. And the first thing I thought when I saw the worn out kitchen/great floors was, "YES! I finally get to do the wood checkerboard floors I've been dreaming about for years!"
I first fell in love with wood checkerboard floors when I saw them in a New England magazine, done beautifully in a historic home in Connecticut. I totally coveted them, but in my 1970's house, with it's ugly ceramic tile floors, I didn't see it happening. Then this sweet old cape came into my life and here we are! I did research on wood checkerboard floors after first seeing them, and that's when I found out American colonists were painting their floors as early as the 1700's. They didn't stain and and varnish their wood floors like we do. They either left them raw or they painted them and they often painted patterns. One pattern they favored was the checkerboard, to mimic the marble floors in grand estates in their native Europe.
We didn't paint our entire house in checkerboard. We only painted the long room in back, which is our kitchen, family room, and mudroom. Here's a before shot of the kitchen/great room:
The floors were rough and worn and the floors in the kitchen were just raw, dirty wood. The first thing we did was to remove the wood stove because it came so far out into the room that it would have been impossible to set up our family room in this space if we had left it.
Since this photo was taken, we also painted the walls a lovely gold color, the windows and baseboards have been painted ivory. We plan to do a complete remodel of the kitchen, but until then we will be painting the cabinets a deep red color. We also plan to knock out the popcorn ceilings and expose more beams in the family room.
See what I mean? Rough shape! I can see why it took so long for the owners to sell this house. A lot of people can't look past a lot of cosmetic work, but if you can, you can get a pretty sweet deal!
After removing the wood-burning stove, we painted the entire floor ivory. We used an oil-based floor paint, which was recommended because the oil-based is more durable. Thank goodness we painted the floors before we moved in, however, because the fumes were very strong.
So here it is all white. Then my husband went to work measuring out the squares and penciling them in. That's the one part he did by himself since my mathematical skills leave much to be desired. After the penciling in, we blue taped the entire floor.
The taping was quite a job! Actually, the entire process was quite a job. After we were done my husband said he'll never do that again, and I don't blame him. Not only was it labor intensive, it took several weeks to cure. But it was worth it! These floors truly make the room.
And after we pulled up the tape, this is what we got:
And look, my apron was made to to go with these floors! :)
As I said, we've since painted walls and trim and have the furniture moved in. I will post pictures after we finish the touch up work this weekend.